From the Labs: Project “Angara” – API access to search, analyze and fix your content’s data

Hello everyone and welcome to the first post from our new blog series – “From the Labs”. These posts are focused on new features and products that are currently in development at UNIFI, which we hope will provide our customers and the broader BIM community with a glimpse into some of the innovative ideas on our roadmap. I get to be the first person here in the office to write a post for the blog, so that’s pretty exciting. We hope anyone who is passionate about advancing BIM will find this content useful, but warning….we may geek out a bit, so put your technical hat on and bear with us.

In this first post, I want to share a recent use case we have started working on, which was inspired from a customer who wanted a way to tie their internal costing systems to their content in order to streamline some of their estimating efforts. That need led to a project we’ve been internally referring to as “Angara”, an external API for accessing the UNIFI platform. The API will let users manage their content programmatically, enabling actions like creating and updating parameters across multiple design formats, as well as selectively enabling access to content based on real world events, like material prices and product availability changes.

One aspect of implementing this API required a way to search Revit parameters in the many files they store and manage in UNIFI, a data lake we’ve nicknamed Baikal. (Thus the name Angara after the river that flows from Lake Baikal in Russia). The final piece of this puzzle comes from work we began working on months ago, which lays the foundation for generating content dynamically from code. Put together, this whole stack of features will hopefully bring some much needed automation to what is otherwise a very tedious job, as I’m sure anyone reading this who has been responsible for finding updating Revit parameters one by one knows! While the API is still currently under development, our team is really looking forward to seeing what you all build on top of the API, there’s bound to be some pretty cool stuff to come out of all this.

The video below shows a few simple curl requests to the API. I start by searching OOTB content from Autodesk, then by using the usual filters like tags and categories that you would look for in UNIFI normally. And then, finally I’ve got a parameter search. This is all we have available for users at the moment, so reach out to us at support@unifilabs.com if you are interested in testing out the API before we release it more widely. Up next is getting transformations hooked into the API!

 

Until next time,

John Jones

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